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What are the Symptoms of High Blood Sugar?

The symptoms of High Blood Sugar can initially seem modest, but if they go untreated, they can seriously harm your health. High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is a typical complication of diabetes.

Your body’s primary source of energy is glucose, also known as blood sugar, which is obtained from the food you eat. Throughout the day, glucose levels rise and fall on their own. By taking glucose from the blood and putting it into cells for energy, the hormone insulin aids in the regulation of this process. However, when you don’t create any, enough, or use it properly, glucose builds up in the blood and blood sugar levels increase.

High blood sugar can lead to serious problems like heart disease and visual loss if it is not managed. Understanding the signs of high blood sugar can help with early diagnosis and treatment, which can help to avert complications from diabetes.

Symptoms of High Blood Sugar 

For a diabetic who has not eaten yet, the average blood sugar target ranges from 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The level should be lower than 180mg/dL within two hours of beginning a meal. When the readings exceed certain limits, blood sugar is often regarded as high.

Remember that your blood sugar goals may vary depending on your age and any other medical issues you may have. For those without diabetes, the goals are also different.

The best approach to determine whether your blood sugar is too high is to test it, typically with a glucometer. You might, however, already be exhibiting signs of high blood sugar before you check your levels.

Excessive Thirst

One typical sign of high blood sugar is the sensation that no matter how much you drink, you can’t satisfy your thirst. Polydipsia is the medical word for this.

Normally, glucose is reabsorbed by the kidneys and returned to the bloodstream. The surplus glucose in high blood sugar levels is excreted in the urine. In actuality, glucose causes the body to shed more fluids by drawing water into the urine. Your body is attempting to replenish the additional fluid lost in your urine by making you thirsty.

Dehydration risk can grow with excessive thirst. Long-term dehydration can result in nausea, headaches, dizziness, and fainting. Extreme dehydration can also cause blood sugar levels to increase since less glucose and urine are being discharged as a result.

You feel the need to drink more as your urine increases. You might choose sugar-sweetened beverages. Blood sugar levels can rise more quickly if you consume substantial amounts of sweetened liquids that are heavy in carbohydrates, such as juice, soda, and other sweetened beverages.

Frequently urinating

Excessive thirst is accompanied by excessive urine. You drink more when you’re more thirsty. You urinate more frequently the more you drink. Polyuria is the medical term for this increased urination.

Because more glucose is excreted in the urine when blood sugar levels are high, there is more liquid for your body to get rid of, which contributes to the rise in urination. This increase in urination is caused by both these factors.

It frequently happens in the middle of the night when the urge to urinate increases. This may manifest in children with type 1 diabetes as bedwetting. Even a potty-trained toddler may begin wetting the bed.7

Severe hunger

A person with high blood sugar may need to eat a lot before feeling satisfied. Polyphagia is the term for this increase in appetite.

The calories that the extra glucose contains are also excreted in the urine along with the excess glucose. That implies that you are not consuming enough calories, which causes hunger. To replenish those lost calories and quell your hunger, you eat more.


Your body’s inability to turn the food you’re eating into energy is the cause of extreme fatigue or exhaustion. The food you eat provides you with glucose. The energy from that glucose is consumed. In order for cells to produce that energy, insulin must transport glucose there.

However, a lack of insulin causes glucose to remain in the circulation rather than being transported to cells where it can be used as fuel. Your blood sugar rises as a result of this. You may also experience extreme fatigue and sleepiness since your glucose isn’t being utilised as energy.

Read Also: What Is Polydipsia? 5 Causes of Polydipsia

Unaccounted-for Weight Loss

An early indicator of high blood sugar is weight loss that isn’t brought on by any other medical issue or a change in lifestyle. The purpose of glucose is to provide energy. When it can’t be eliminated, it instead accumulates in the blood, which causes high blood sugar. However, the body still requires a source of energy, so muscle and fat are used instead. You can lose weight as muscle and fat begin to be burned for energy.

Hazy vision

Your eyes’ fluid levels can fluctuate if you have high blood sugar. The lenses in your eyes cannot change form if there is an excessive amount of water and sugar present. This may result in hazy eyesight.

Additionally, high blood sugar can expand the tissues in your eyes that aid in focusing, making your vision hazy. This transient blurring of vision normally goes away after your blood sugar levels return to normal.

However, persistently high blood sugar levels might harm the body permanently. The tiny blood vessels in the eyes might get damaged by long-term hyperglycemia. Diabetic retinopathy is one disorder that can be brought on by this blood vessel damage.

Initially, diabetic retinopathy may occasionally make it difficult to read or notice objects in the distance. When the illness is advanced, it can lead to floating spots in your vision, vision loss, and even blindness in addition to fuzzy vision.

The American Diabetes Association advises that all individuals newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have a dilated eye exam from an ophthalmologist or optometrist shortly after diagnosis and on an annual basis after that because there may be serious effects on the eyes. A dilated eye exam is advised for persons with type 1 diabetes within five years of their diagnosis and then once a year beyond that.

Tingling and Numbness in the Extremities

When a person’s circulation is compromised because of an accumulation of glucose, they may experience numbness and tingling in their hands and feet.

Additionally, nerve damage might result from persistently high blood sugar levels. Diabetic neuropathy is the term for this condition. Diabetic neuropathy comes in a variety of forms, each of which can impact various bodily regions. Peripheral neuropathy, however, which typically affects the hands, arms, and feet, is the most prevalent kind.

About half of those with diabetes experience this symptom, which is particularly prevalent in those with long-term diabetes.

Continual Infections

Due to a disruption in the body’s immunological system, high blood sugar levels may be a factor in repeated infections. Additionally, according to researchers, some bacteria thrive in environments with a lot of sugar.

In addition to bacterial infections, high blood sugar may raise the risk of yeast infections as well. People with diabetes are more prone to respiratory and urinary tract infections in particular.

Skin Problems

Hyperglycemia can cause a number of skin changes, including:

  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Frequent skin infections
  • Wounds that are slow to heal

Dysfunctional Sexuality

Chronically high blood sugar levels can eventually cause genital nerve damage. For instance, elevated blood sugar can harm the nerves necessary for erection maintenance.

Even among those with female reproductive organs, hyperglycemia is linked to dysfunctional sex, but further study is required to fully explain this association.

Lower Fertility

If you have diabetes and are trying to get pregnant, having trouble getting pregnant could be an indication that your blood sugar levels are too high, which can affect your fertility and the quality of your eggs. If you’re attempting to get pregnant, as well as when you’re pregnant, it’s crucial to keep an eye on and manage your blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels in the first few weeks of pregnancy in women with pre-existing diabetes can increase the chance of miscarriages or congenital defects in the fetus later in the pregnancy.

Additionally, several research on type 1 diabetic males have found that hyperglycemia may have a deleterious effect on sperm size, motility, and quality—all of which are connected to decreased fertility and infertility.

Mood Shifts

Although it might be challenging to precisely gauge the direct effects of high blood sugar on mood, many diabetics report that significant swings in blood sugar—whether high or low—can affect their mood and behavior.

Researchers discovered a statistically significant correlation between a higher after-meal glucose increase rate and more negative mood symptoms. However, they contend that the available information is not conclusive and that more thorough study of the association is required.

Signs of an Emergency with High Blood Sugar

Untreated elevated blood sugar can lead to a potentially fatal disease known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). A buildup of the acid ketone, which is more frequent in type 1 diabetes, can result from the disorder.

DKA may occasionally be a person’s initial indication of diabetes in people who have not yet received a diagnosis.

DKA can develop slowly at first, with its initial symptoms including:27

  • Thirst
  • A very dry mouth
  • Frequent urination

The condition can worsen quickly, with later symptoms including:27

  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Deep, shallow breathing
  • Fruity breath
  • Stomachache
  • Muscle aches and stiffness

Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state (HHS), which can also result from dehydration and high blood sugar levels, can occur. People with type 2 diabetes who have experienced an infection of any kind, such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection, are more likely to develop HHS.29

Extremely high blood sugar levels (600mg/dL) often accompany HHS symptoms such fever, disorientation, weakness, or paralysis on one side of the body.29 Treatment must start right away to avoid significant repercussions.

When to Consult a Medical Professional

In most cases, there is no reason to freak out if you have diabetes and occasionally have an erratically high blood sugar level. Examine your food and activity levels to try to determine what adjustments might have caused a blood sugar surge. Understanding the cause of high blood sugar will help you devise a plan to stop it from happening again.30

On the other hand, if your blood sugar levels have been consistently high, your treatment strategy may need to change. This doesn’t imply that you haven’t been taking good care of your diabetes. Instead, diabetes is a chronic condition that might alter how you are affected over time. To help you better control your blood sugar levels, adjustments may be required to things like medications, food plans, and exercise routines.31

If you are not diabetic but believe you are experiencing high blood sugar, you might want to schedule a visit with a healthcare professional.

Regardless of whether you have a diabetes diagnosis, you should get medical attention if you show any signs of DKA or HHS. Treatment for both problems needs to happen quickly.


There are numerous ways that hyperglycemia can manifest. The body naturally strives to make up for when glucose cannot be utilised as energy and instead builds up in the blood. You may experience the typical signs of elevated blood sugar throughout this process, including an increase in hunger, thirst, and urine. Other symptoms include loss of weight, blurred vision, skin issues, and recurrent infections could be less noticeable. If you have diabetes and are exhibiting any hyperglycemia symptoms, your medication regimen may need to be changed in order to bring your blood sugar levels back into a healthy range.

Contact a healthcare provider for a screening if you do not have diabetes but are exhibiting hyperglycemia symptoms. Diabetes and its consequences can be delayed and managed with the aid of early detection and treatment.

FAQs on Symptoms of High Blood Sugar

How do I bring my blood sugar down quickly?

The quickest way to lower your blood sugar is to take fast-acting insulin. Exercising is another fast, effective way. However, in severe cases, you should go to the hospital. High blood sugar levels are known as hyperglycemia or high blood glucose.

What causes blood sugar to rise?

Coffee—even without sweetener. Some people's blood sugar is extra-sensitive to caffeine. Losing sleep—even just one night of too little sleep can make your body use insulin less well. Skipping breakfast—going without that morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner.

What is normal sugar level by age?

From 90 to 130 mg/dL (5.0 to 7.2 mmol/L) for adults. From 90 to 130 mg/dL (5.0 to 7.2 mmol/L) for children, 13 to 19 years old. From 90 to 180 mg/dL (5.0 to 10.0 mmol/L) for children, 6 to 12 years old. From 100 to 180 mg/dL (5.5 to 10.0 mmol/L) for children under 6 years old.

How should I feel if I have diabetes?

The symptoms you experience won't exactly match those of another person. However, the most common diabetes symptoms experienced by many people with diabetes are increased thirst, increased urination, feeling tired and losing weight.




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